“You’ve shown me that gratefulness blesses me doubly—with joyful memories of answered prayer and with the pleasure of sharing my happiness with You!”
– Jesus Listens, February 29th
Marriage is an incredible journey, full of ups and downs, twists and turns. There have been many times our marriage has surprised us, sometimes in good ways, and other times we have been surprised—or rather shocked—at how such a close relationship can experience heartache, pain, and hardship. In those times of uncertainty and emotion, we clung to the Lord in prayer. We humbled ourselves and presented to Him our brokenness, in hopes of Him transforming us for the better.
Prayer was an anchor
Prayer was an anchor for our relationship and continues to be a way we strengthen our unity and increase our intimacy with each other and with the Lord. Prayer has been a crucial part of our marriage as it helps us take an honest evaluation of where we are at and the direction we long to aim for, helping us surrender our ideals in order to chase after God’s will for our marriage.
My wife and I prayed for each other during our years of dating and being engaged. We were thoughtful of each other and the possibility of marriage, desiring God to lead us to know how to cultivate and protect our relationship.
When we did get married, we began to form habits of daily prayer as we prayed with each other before going to bed at night. This is when we realized how intimate prayer can be. When I heard my wife pray to Lord and share her heart with Him, it encouraged me. When I prayed, she got to peek into my heart and see what was in there, including my struggles, my hopes, and my thankfulness for our marriage. We grew together as we prayed together, because we began to know each other more deeply. As time went on, and we encountered hardship in marriage, we recognized the power of prayer and how it diffuses the intensity of emotions we experienced toward each other. Prayer was humbling in that we were presenting everything before God, the Creator of the Universe. The Lord would share a heavenly perspective with us of the thing we were praying about, and help us navigate it through the wisdom we found throughout His Word.
Early in our marriage, we encountered hardships that brought us to our knees in prayer. Everything from intimacy, finances, communication, and understanding what we were supposed to do with our lives overwhelmed us and stirred up heartache in us. Praying together was not always easy, even when we knew from experience how powerful it could be for our marriage.
There were times when my wife struggled in her faith and resisted praying. She doubted how God would help her and wrestled in her belief. During this time I remain committed to praying for us. I didn’t do it perfectly or every day, but I believed God would hear my prayers and help our marriage. Persevering in hard times, especially when my spouse felt like giving up, was challenging. I admit there were days I wanted to give us as well. The Lord prompted me to pray again and again. My wife told me that my invitations to pray together or just being willing to pray for us really encouraged her during those times. Eventually, we got through some major hurdles in our marriage that we give God the glory for. He did hear us, and He answered our prayers. This grew our faith tremendously and showed us that a marriage that prays together is strengthened to be able to hang on during tough times.
As we have pursued praying together, we have seen a transformation in ourselves and in our marriage. Bringing God our heart’s desires, our gratitude, and our requests helps bring clarity to what it is we are experiencing as a husband and wife. It helps us to align ourselves with God’s will for our relationship. When we start to pray, we experience the presence and peace of God very near, which helps us feel supported in the things that we go through. We have experienced the unifying effect of prayer and how it can bring us closer together, reminding us of what is most important in life.
Through praying together, the Lord has convicted us in areas we need to grow in and He also inspires us to have courage to lead and initiate in the way we love each other. The Lord also encourages us to slow down in our actions and our thinking. When we slow down, we are less easily offended, less distracted, and less overwhelmed by the things we are wrestling with and are able to consider what next step we can take in the right direction.
Most of all, over years of praying with and for each other in marriage we have experienced that prayer fosters humility. A marriage that acts in humility can thrive. When two people are trying to work together and feel close, yet have different or even opposing thoughts, opinions, preferences, and habits, we need humility to lead us. We cannot be self-focused or self-protected. We must be willing to consider the needs of the other person, serve them in love, and walk in understanding. Prayer has helped soften our hearts in this way and make ourselves known to each other.
Prayer has also shown us that God’s plan and purpose for our marriage is far beyond what we ever imagined was possible. In addition to praying for help for our relationship, we started to pray for an understanding that marriage is greater than just two people enjoying each other. Our marriage is a picture of His love story, of how Jesus loves His bride—the church. How we choose to love each other matters, and can be a light in this world to draw others closer to God. What a gift! Our marriage is a gift to each other and to the world, and prayer is a gift to our marriage!
About The Author
Aaron and Jennifer Smith’s love story is one of resilience, faith, and a passion for strengthening marriages. Since marrying in 2007, they overcame challenges with God’s help and founded the online ministries HusbandRevolution.com and UnveiledWife.com in 2011. Through these online ministries, they share their own journey and offer daily encouragement to couples. Together, they have coauthored several books, including 31 Prayers for My Future Husband, 31 Prayers for My Future Wife, Marriage After God, and their latest book, The Marriage Gift.
Aaron and Jennifer’s dedication to their mission extends to their Marriage After God podcast and online resources at marriageaftergod.com. They embody the power of love, faith, and determination, inspiring countless individuals and couples on their marriage and faith journeys. They live with their five young children in central Oregon.
Get a copy of “The Marriage Gift: 365 Prayers For Our Marriage” at Themarriagegift.com